The custom home-building division at Mount Pleasant-based Nautilus Co. does more than build houses. The company, which constructs homes mostly in the East Cooper areas of Mount Pleasant, Daniel Island, Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms, focuses on creating long-lasting customer relationships by maintaining the homes they build for years to come.
“We’re not done when we hand over the keys,” says Bill Payzant, president of Nautilus Co.
“This is most people’s biggest asset,” he notes. “There can be a lot of fear and anxiety. Our job is to relieve the stress associated with building and maintaining a home.” Payzant says they spend time early on getting to know their customers, understanding their needs and ensuring the relationship is a good fit on both sides.
“Rather than just building a quality product, it’s much more about the customer service side,” Payzant says. “How can we understand the client? How can we make the process enjoyable, easier and something that’s exciting for them?”
In addition to custom homes, the company offers Nautilus Select exclusive home plans that give customers an easier start on a semicustom home. Much of the design work is done by Lowcountry architects, then Nautilus works with customers so they can add their own touches and tweaks to make the home fit their needs and lifestyle.
The other side of Nautilus Co. is its home maintenance and management services, which involve helping homeowners with everything from a leaky roof to a fridge on the fritz. The company works with both full-time Charleston area residents and those with vacation homes in the Lowcountry.
In many ways, custom home building and home maintenance are complementary services and provide ways for Nautilus to be different from other builders, Payzant explains. By doing the maintenance on a house Nautilus built, the staff truly knows the house from the inside out and can quickly indentify and fix any problems.
“We build the house from the ground up, so we know how to fix, maintain and address any issues.”
Also, by providing the maintenance for homes constructed by other companies, Nautilus learns from other builders’ mistakes and comes up with its own good ideas and best practices.
“We’re able to take all that knowledge and look at how we can build a better house that won’t have those problems,” Payzant says.
For people who own a second home in the Lowcountry, Nautilus employees visit the home weekly. Each home—whether it’s a vacation or full-time residence—has a house-specific checklist. Employees look for immediate problems and perform preventive maintenance that can save homeowners big headaches—and big bucks—down the road.
“Everyone has enough stress in their lives,” Payzant says. “Our goal is to take that headache away. If there’s a problem, you just pick up the phone and call one person.”
Nautilus uses a custom software system to track and document all maintenance. That documentation is particularly helpful should homeowners decide to sell, Payzant says. They have a record of their maintenance and “a strong leg to stand on to prove the house was well maintained.” The company can also install automated systems that will alert them to immediate issues like a water leak or high humidity.
“A house is an investment for most people, and we’re maintaining their investment,” Payzant says. “Our services offer the most cost-effective way to get the most bang for your buck.”
Most people just aren’t informed about home maintenance. While they wouldn’t dream of driving their car for years without getting an oil change or the tires rotated, many don’t take the same preventive approach with their homes, Payzant says.
For people owning second homes, Nautilus also provides a concierge service so the house is all set and ready for a visit—from putting out the pool furniture to stocking the fridge and heating up the hot tub. They will also pack up the house after homeowners leave.
“It’s really about the enjoyment of a house,” Payzant says. “We like for people to live their lives and be out doing the things they enjoy in Charleston. After all, that’s why they are here!”
Holly Fisher is a freelance writer and editor in Mount Pleasant. Reach her at HAFCreative.com.